Item description for Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Study by Luke Timothy Johnson...
Overview Combining trenchant criticism with careful analysis, Luke Johnson calls for a radically new direction in New Testament studies, one that can change the way we view the entire phenomenon of early Christianity. In three fasinating probes of early Christianity - examining baptism, speaking in tongues, and meals in common - Johnson illustrates how a more holistic approach opens up the works of healings and religious power, of ecstasy and spirit - in short, the religious experience of real persons. Early Christian texts, he finds, reflect lives caught up in and defined by a power not in their control but engendered instead by the crucified and raised Messiah Jesus.
Publishers Description Luke Johnson here issues a provocative call for a radically new direction in New Testament studies that can change the way we have viewed the entire phenomenon of early Christianity.
Johnson is convinced that the dominant ways of studying early Christianity tend to miss its specifically religious character, because of a disjunction between formal religion and "popular" religion. He proposes in this book, by means of three case studies -- baptism, glossolalia, and meals -- to show how a more holistic, phenomenological approach can be made. This makes possible the inclusion in the study of early Christianity the world of healings and religious power, of ecstasy and spirit -- in short, the religious experience of real persons.
It is this subtle yet real presence of religious experience that alters the discipline and practice of New Testament scholarship, as Johnson notes: "This is neither history in the strict sense of the term, nor is it theology. That's the whole point: we need a new way of looking in order to see what we can't otherwise see. If I have succeeded at least in whetting an appetite for getting at what these chapters try to get at, I am content, for what they try to get at is important."
Johnson concludes that there is still much to be learned about early Christianity as a religion, if we can find a way to get at the category of real experience. He maintains that early Christian texts reflect lives that are caught up by and defined by a power not in their control but controlled instead by the crucified and raised Messiah Jesus.
Awards and Recognitions Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Study by Luke Timothy Johnson has received the following awards and recognitions -
Book of the Year - 1999 Winner - Top 10 category
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More About Luke Timothy Johnson
Professor Johnson's research concerns the literary, moral, and religious dimensions of the New Testament, including the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity (particularly moral discourse), Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Letters, and the Letter of James. A prolific author, Dr. Johnson has penned numerous scholarly articles and more than 25 books. His 1986 book The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, now in its second edition, is widely used in seminaries and departments of religion throughout the world.
A former Benedictine monk, Dr. Johnson is a highly sought-after lecturer, a member of several editorial and advisory boards, and a senior fellow at Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He received the prestigious 2011 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his most recent book, Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (2009, Yale University Press), which explores the relationship between early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism.
Luke Timothy Johnson currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
Luke Timothy Johnson has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Study?
A Basis for Inter-Denominational Talks May 3, 2004
It is refreshing to read that finally academcis start to deal with the specific Christian experience. Mr. Johnson has made a good start. However, his view on protestants dealing with religious experience is flawed. The protestant academic schools he criticises have never been accepted by non-academic protestant believers. On the contrary, missionaries like E. Stanley Jones, academics like C.S. Lewis and Eta Linnemann, minister-scholars like Raymond J. Lawrence, and not to mention the large body of lay people of all kind of different protestant streams, for instance, the Pentecontalists, the Jesus people, Christian healers, etc., they all have always rejected the 19th and 20th century academic stream of Protestantism. If Mr. Johnson would not insist on his anti-protestant attitude actual experience could be a basis for talks between Catholics and Protestants.
Johnson is a 5 Star Believer! Mar 13, 2004
Do you want your own faith to reflect New Testament Christianity? This book considers baptism, communion and speaking in tongues and considers what was happening in the lives of the earliest believers. If you are a conservative believer in the mainline denominations (or Roman Catholic as Johnson is) this book offers a solid viewpoint and takes on some of the current revisionist thinking. He constantly reminds that our "a priori" judgements lead to inevitable conclusions. This book is a vibrant look at Christian community and its impact on those who are shaped by that community.
What was it like? Jul 13, 2003
I am fortunate to have been able to have Luke Timothy Johnson as one of my professors when I was studying religious studies at Indiana University in the early 1980s. He has since moved on to Emory University, which is definitely I.U.'s loss. Johnson has been one of the more prolific and studied historian/theologians of this generation. This recent book, 'Religious Experience in Early Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Studies', shows much of the way he thinks and some of what he considers important in Christianity. 'Combining trenchant criticism with careful analysis, Luke Johnson calls for a radically new direction in New Testament studies, one that can change the way we view the entire phenomenon of early Christianity.'
Johnson explores three main topics: baptism (ritual imprinting), glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and eucharist (communal meals). This book grew out of the 1997 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, and argues the need for a phenomenological approach to the examination of religious experience. 'This is neither history in the strict sense of the term, nor is it theology. That's the whole point: we need a new way of looking in order to see what we can't otherwise see.'
Johnson argues that there has been a comfortable agreement between scholars and clerics toward a more sanitary, orderly, control-able way of examining religious phenomena, which is only natural considering, particularly in Western society, medieval and modern scholarship grew out of the clerical ranks. The 'history' of early Christianity has thus been a history primarily built of ideas and institutions rather than experiences, which tend to be too subjective.
Perhaps the most remarkable chapter in this text is the one on Glossolalia and the Embarrassments of Experience. Speaking in tongues is something that fringe groups do, most scholars, clerics, and lay Christians believe (except for those in denominations which still regard this as a valid practise). Johnson, coming out of a Roman Catholic background, would be one of the last people one would expect to deal with this subject.
Even at Pentecost, speaking in tongues divided the crowd. Since then, glossolalia has been singled out as either the supreme criterion for the direct action of the Holy Spirit in Christian lives or the supreme example of how enthusiasm is a bad thing for Christian piety.
Part of the problem with analyzing this phenomenon is that there is no consistent form, either physically, psychologically, and gets into areas that certainly go against modern, more 'scientific and objective' ideas. Johnson does not try, with this topic or with baptism and eucharistic experiences, to formulate a definitive, 'this-must-be-it' way of thinking or viewing these phenomena, but rather strives to show the real experience in the real lives of early Christians as best as can be reconstructed. This is a fascinating text.
Religious Experiencing perspective on Christian origins Nov 8, 2002
A clear, concise, much-needed perspective on the beginnings of Christianity. Critiques the limitations of the Theology perspective and the Historical Sociopolitical perspective, and explains why scholars are averse to looking at the origins of Christianity from the point of view of religious experiencing.
Central chapters cover glossalia and especially sacred meals, looking for the kind of experiencing that was common to the Mystery Religions and Jewish initiation. The convenient footnotes have valuable references to the books he praises and critiques. Ends with a call to start looking for religious experiencing as the main cause of Christianity.